By Iman Usmani, BSC Associate
Women led the way in the social and environmental impact category of the 2018 Lulu eGames, representing 91% of the category winners! The Lulu eGames is NC State’s 10th annual startup competition where students can enter their idea into one of the 6 categories: New Venture, Design & Prototype, Social and Environmental Impact, Arts Venture, Built on Cloud and Daugherty Endowment.
The 2018 competition closed on Thursday, April 5, at the Lulu eGames LIVE event which was hosted in Stewart Theater in Talley Student Union. There were over 500 audience members as students won in their respective categories. There were 65 unique teams competing this year. The winners of the competition receive a generous gift totaling over $100,000 from the sponsors of the competition, Lulu.com.
The Lulu eGames Social and Environmental Impact track, hosted in partnership with the Poole College of Management Business Sustainability Collaborative, has progressively received more applicants with each year of the competition. The track is for student ventures that are using the power of business to solve social and environmental issues. In 2018, 33 of the 65 teams participated in the Social and Environmental Impact category. Thanks to the category’s generous sponsors, the winning teams were awarded $10K in prizes.
Freshspire, a company that connects food suppliers to restaurants to eliminate food waste, took first place and an award of $5,000. The Freshspire team includes Shraddha Rathod from the College of Engineering, Thomas Armstrong and Sofia Abdo from Poole College of Management, Emerson Barnhill from College of Natural Resources and Rachel Poythress from CHASS.
321 Coffee is a growing pop-up coffee shop that is run by individuals with special needs received second place and award for $3,000. The group includes Lindsay Wrege from College of Engineering and Elise Ramola from Poole College of Management.
Finally, Cup’t, a company that accurately measures women for bras, took 3rd place with an award of $2,000. The team includes Madison Baldwin, Sarah Alenezi, Els Thijs and Erin Furgason from the College of Engineering. Cup’t, a team compromised of women, also won for Audience Choice where the audience votes on their phones for the presentation they most enjoyed.
Both Freshspire and 321 Coffee teams included Poole students.
Social and Environmental Impact Category Sponsors
The Social and Environmental Impact category is sponsored by the Business Sustainability Collaborative, local B Corporations and several other NC State programs and initiatives. The sponsors include Forrest Firm, HQ Raleigh, The Redwoods Group, NC State Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Water Resources Research Institute of UNC and Murphy’s Naturals. Along with these companies, BSC also partnered with the NC Sea Grant Program to sponsor the Social and Environmental Impact category.